What is the best cocoa in the world?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “what are the best cocoa in the world” with an in-depth analysis of what is the best cocoa in the world. Moreover, we will also discuss what makes this cocoa the best in the world.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

What is the best cocoa in the world?

Nacional and Porcelana are regarded as the best cocoa in the world. Some of the other best cocoa options are:

  • Criollo
  • Trinitario
  • Forastero

What makes Nacional the best cocoa in the world?

Nacional cacao is the rarest cacao in the world. When compared to Criollo cacao beans, Nacional cacao beans are higher in polyphenols, more tannic, and have moderate acidity.

This chemical makeup is responsible for its well-known aromatic scent and high level of complexity. Dark chocolate made from Nacional cacao contains floral, fruity, nutty, and vegetal/earthy aromas. 

Each of these traits can be detected in the same bar of dark chocolate in some situations. However, the relative degrees of each flavor attribute are heavily influenced by terroir and production practices.

As fermentation and conch periods for the Nacional cocoa increase, the flavor profile begins to shift toward the fruity side of the spectrum, albeit this is only true up to a certain point. Red fruits (cherry, raspberry, cranberry), dark fruits (plum, raisins, black mission fig), citrus (grapefruit, orange peel), and even tropical fruits (banana, occasionally mango) can all be detected in Nacional cocoa.

Earthy and grassy notes are another characteristic found in Nacional cacao from Piedra de Plata, which occasionally moves into the woody world of oak, pine, and even eucalyptus.

What makes Porcelana the best cocoa in the world?

Because of its refined flavor profile, a perfect balance of acidity/fruit, and reduced levels of astringency and bitterness, Porcelana cocoa is the world’s most prized cocoa type. There are notes of nuts, caramel, and a hint of spice, as well as a buttery mouthfeel.

Many of these nuances may go unnoticed if you think of chocolate as a quick fix and don’t pay attention to the taste. Many people expect Porcelana chocolate to be the most delicious and flavor-packed chocolate experience available, but it is the delicacy, balance, and long-lasting flavor that ticks the most boxes.

Many palates do prefer the fruit-laden chocolates, mostly made with Trinitario or Criollo cocoa and the added sweetness they provide, but it is the Porcelana that is considered by true connoisseurs as the holy grail of cocoa.

What makes Criollo the best cocoa in the world?

The Criollo tree is native to Central and South America as well as the Caribbean islands and Sri Lanka. Only 5% of the world’s production is Criollo.

Criollo chocolate has a distinctly reddish color and an equally distinctive complex taste which can include flavors of caramel, nuts, vanilla, and tobacco. What the fine Arabica bean is to coffee, the even finer and rarer Criollo bean is to chocolate.

Criollo cacao beans are low in tannins, somewhat low in polyphenols, contain less theobromine, and are generally mild in bitterness.

This translates to a chocolate that is incredibly smooth and accessible, typically with a rich, nutty base and a predominance of characteristic “chocolatey” aromas. Criollo dark chocolate is not noted for its complexity, but it is indisputably enjoyable—like a gentle massage of the palette.

What makes Trinitario the best cocoa in the world?

Trinitario is a hybrid between the Criollo and Forastero trees and originated in Trinidad. Legend recounts that it first came into existence on the Island of Trinidad after a hurricane nearly destroyed the local Criollo crops in 1727. Assuming all the trees were dead, the plantations were replanted with Forastero, but spontaneous hybrids appeared.

The new variety was combined with the remaining Criollo trees, resulting in the new Trinitario variety. In the 19th-century Trinitario trees spread across the globe and can be found in Venezuela, Ecuador, Cameroon, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Java, and Papua New Guinea.

Trinitario is the predominant fine/flavor cocoa and is the most likely bean to be found in high-quality dark chocolate today. A particular mention should go to the Venezuelan Carenero and Rio Caribe varieties, which are very highly regarded. An exception is the Trinitario from Cameroon which is generally classified as bulk produce.

What makes Forastero the best cocoa in the world?

The most commonly grown cocoa is Forastero. It is most likely native to the Amazon basin. Today, Forastero is mainly grown in Africa, Ecuador, and Brazil and accounts for 80% of the world’s cocoa supply.

This is the equivalent of the Robusta bean in coffee. Originally from the Amazon region, there are many types of Forastero trees all over the world. While most Forastero is bulk cocoa, there are exceptions, such as the Ecuadorian Cacao Nacional or Arriba Forastero which is used as fine/flavor cocoa.

 In 2015 Arriba Nacional won the prestigious “Cocoa of Excellence Award ” at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, today the National is considered one of the best cocoa available.

Forastero means “foreigner” in Spanish, in contrast to Criollo which is the word for “native”. This distinction was made by the Spanish who at first imported Criollo cocoa exclusively from Venezuela and thus regarded Criollo as the original variety of cocoa, as opposed to the “foreign” Forastero from the Amazon region.

What is the rarest cocoa?

Nacional Cacao is the rarest cocoa. This bean variety was only recently rediscovered in Peru in 2011. In its purest form, it is regarded as the world’s rarest cacao.

What is the most expensive cocoa?

Criollo is the most expensive cacao bean. It is native to South and Central America. Because of its low vulnerability to disease and its low efficiency, it is also the rarest cacao bean and it makes up only 10% of the world’s production of cacao beans.

Which country has the best quality cocoa?

Here are the top five cocoa-producing countries in the world:

  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Ghana
  • Ecuador
  • Indonesia
  • Nigeria
  • Cameroon

You can read more about top cocoa-producing countries here.

Other FAQs about Cocoa that you may be interested in.

What can I substitute for cocoa nibs?


In this brief guide, we answered the question “what are the best cocoa in the world” with an in-depth analysis of what is the best cocoa in the world. Moreover, we also discussed what makes this cocoa the best in the world.



Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.